The post 2001 Afghan Army has put
into service several dozen artillery weapons over the last three years. These
include the 24 U.S. M114 155mm howitzers
(donated by Turkey) and several dozen Russian D-30 and M-30 122mm howitzers
(left over from past wars).
was introduced 40 years ago, as an improved model of a World War II weapon (the
M-30). The D-30 is a four ton, towed weapon with a range of 15 kilometers (or
more, with special ammo). The 122mm shells weigh about 50 pounds.
are World War II era weapons, still used by over a dozen countries. The six ton
M114 is towed by a truck, has a range of 14.6 kilometers (or more, with special
ammo), and can use most ammunition fired by more modern guns. The 155mm shells
weigh about 90 pounds.
is particularly useful as a direct fire (shooting at something you can see)
weapon. Indirect fire (shooting at something you can't see) requires more training, especially for
the specialists who have to do the calculations required to figure out where to
point the gun. While there are small computers, and calculator size devices for
doing the math, the fire control specialists have to know what they are doing.
Errors in this area can have disastrous consequences.
have been using the M-30 and D-30 122mm guns for over three decades. Most
artillery is now assigned to combat brigades as small batteries (usually of
three guns). U.S. and NATO smart bombs are preferred for fire support, as they
are usually more accurate than artillery, and available anywhere. But there are
times when no smart bombs are available, and that's when the artillery comes in